Tag Archive: kick-ass women of 2021


Once a year at borg we ask: What makes a great screen heroine? It’s time for borg′s annual look at the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines in film and television.  We’re highlighting the very best from a slate of fantastic heroines, with characteristics to learn from and root for.  Determined, decisive, loyal, brave, smart, fierce, strong, you’ll find no one here timid or weepy, but all rely on their individual skills to beat the odds and overcome any obstacle that comes their way.  Over the years we have expanded the list to include any tough, savvy, gritty character played by a woman, so villains are welcome here, too.  (Want to see previous years’ kickass genre heroines to see how 2021 compares?  Here are 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015). Some may be frazzled, put-upon, war-weary, or human, but all have fought, some against difficult circumstances, others against personal demons (literally, figuratively, or both), and some against gun and laser fire.  And they all showed what a tough, kick-ass, and often badass, character is about.

This year we add three superheroines, an amnesiac bounty hunter, four police detectives, a thief, a grifter, a hacker, 13 martial arts experts, three soldiers, a god, a duchess, two college students, three Russian assassins, a spy, an actress, a cyborg, a bartender, a forensics expert, a hitman, and a helicopter pilot, with eight characters we’ve seen in past years and 13 all-new characters we’ve never seen in any medium before–all in a roster split between 21 television and 13 movie characters. Credit goes to both the writers, costumers, and other creators of the characters and the actors and performers that brought them all to life.

These are the Best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines of 2021:

Antonia Dreykov aka Taskmaster (Black Widow).  Was there a more intriguing, surprising, gut-wrenching character this year than Olga Kurylenko’s super-powered cyborg?  She was one of the best costumed villains this year and certainly the most sympathetic, leaving the question: Where does she go from here? (Disney)

Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop).  Daniella Pineda’s spin on this classic sci-fi character couldn’t have been better.  Always eager, always excitable, always refreshing, as she pursued the dramatic journey to discover who she really is. (Netflix)

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gunpowdermilkshake-lenaheadey-karengillan-guns

Gunpowder Milkshake is a title that reminds me of ice cream companies referring to their products as “concretes.”  If your product doesn’t sound appetizing, how do you expect to get anyone to try it?  If it’s a movie, maybe you need to hire a cast that includes Karen Gillan, Carla Gugino, Lena Headey, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, and Paul Giamatti.  For those that can get past the goofy title, the trailer for StudioCanal’s new in-your-face action romp looks like fun: a mix of John Wick, Kingsman, Kill Bill, and The Librarians, complete with an R rating for violence. 

So many badass women performers, we’re hoping it takes up several spots in our annual kick-ass heroines list.

Milkshakes

It’s not quite Tarantino style, but it has the lighting and over-the-top camera work that reminds us of Atomic Blonde, Hotel Artemis, and the silly/sweet vibe of Baby Driver–all good movies to be compared to.  And it features the young co-star of My Spy, Chloe Coleman.  

Check out the trailer below for the summer action flick, Gunpowder Milkshake.

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